Julie’s Story

David B canadian armed forces in front of tutor jet
David B canadian armed forces in front of tutor jet

One of the things I enjoy most about the Veterans Transition Program (VTP) training is seeing the progression of the participants’ openness, which gradually transforms into a luminous peace! Being part of this transformation is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.

I was fifteen when my father died. My family was in shock. To pay for my college education, I enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve. Three years later, I was transferred to the Regular Force. I spent a total of 20 years there. First as a supply technician, then as a medical technician. My best memories are of small moments of mutual support and solidarity in the service of my comrades’ well-being.

“I have been trying to get my life back together, to have the crimes I suffered recognized and to heal the countless wounds inflicted on me over the years.”

My worst memories are each darker and more poignant than the last. The most horrible tragedies that have happened to me are made up of discrimination, abuse of power, blackmail, harassment, threats, manipulation, humiliation and sexual assault… repeatedly.

The context and circumstances prevented me from denouncing my attackers. Later, even specialists refused to believe me and questioned the veracity of my statements. This whole sequence of dramatic, unjust and intolerable events ended up destroying me. I sank from depression to depression. I became suicidal. They even tried to have me committed to a psychiatric institution. I’m clearly suffering from post-traumatic syndrome.

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“By the end of the second period, all my doubts had disappeared, thanks to the visceral connection between all the participants. This connection instilled in me a deep sense of relief and peace that spread throughout my entire being.”

However, the military doctor who had to diagnose my situation refused to recognize this pathology. I finally left the army for medical reasons. Since then, I’ve been trying to get my life back on track, to have the crimes I suffered recognized and to heal the countless wounds inflicted on me over the years.

I’m still tirelessly pursuing my quest for healing when it’s suggested that I take part in the PTV. After an assessment telephone interview, which was mainly aimed at getting to know me better, understanding me and responding to my apprehensions, I was chosen. My feelings are ambivalent. I’m happy to be given the opportunity to take part, and nervous about having to face my nightmarish memories again… but in a group this time!

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I arrive in a magnificent setting, in the middle of nature, a secret location reserved exclusively for the participants, a setting that should encourage me to let go and reduce my anxiety level. I’m not. I’m intimidated, in survival mode. Nevertheless, the training begins and I’m still here.

As the days and exercises go by, I let my emotions rise. However, after hearing a participant’s testimony, a ball of fire and anger comes over me. I’m terrified. I run away and a therapist comes to my rescue. The training continues and I feel free of a heavy burden.

“Without the VTP, I don’t think I would have been able to go through with the judicial process and, despite all my efforts, my life would have continued to be a living hell.

Now I’ve been relieved of this heavy burden and can finally rebuild my life.”

We are six participants, all veterans, two Peer Supporters, two therapists and a third in training. The program is divided into two periods of five days each. By the end of the second period, all my doubts had disappeared, thanks to the visceral connection between all the participants. This connection instilled in me a deep sense of relief and peace that spread throughout my entire being. Why exactly? It’s hard to say. In my opinion, the answer lies in the method used in this unique training.

One last word of advice: if, like me, you decide to denounce your tormentors, they could receive a guilty verdict. The proof is that one of mine was found guilty of sexual assault at the courthouse on January 4, 2024. He will serve his sentence under house arrest, with a criminal record and a host of restrictions and obligations. In addition, the judge granted the military police permission to take a blood sample from the culprit. This day marks a great victory for me and brings hope to all victims. Without the VTP, I don’t think I would have been able to go through with the judicial process and, despite all my efforts, my life would have continued to be a living hell. Now I’ve been relieved of this heavy burden and can finally rebuild my life. For me, the VTP was a resounding success in every respect.

– Julie

shattered glass black and white